Love’s Travel Stops Makes Major Donation for New Softball Stadium
NORMAN – Love’s Travel Stops, the nation’s leading travel stop network, provided the main giveaway and name for the new University of Oklahoma softball stadium. OU Vice-President and Sports Director Joe castiglione made the announcement today. The new facility will be called Love’s Field.
The company has pledged $ 9 million for the project and has also challenged other donors. It will match every other dollar-for-dollar donation up to an additional $ 3 million in fundraising for the project. When completed, the match will result in a total donation of $ 12 million from Love’s, which is the largest philanthropic donation to a women-specific sports program in OU Athletics history.
Love’s Travel Stops is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The company opened its first site in 1964 in Watonga, Oklahoma, and now has more than 560 sites and 33,000 employees in 41 states.
“The program [Coach Gasso] has built aligns with Love’s core values ââof integrity, perseverance and a strong work ethic … We are proud that our name is associated with this program and the new stadium so well deserved by the team . “
– Jenny Love Meyer
âAs a longtime Oklahoma, investing in the community, especially the University of Oklahoma and its softball program, is something we’re proud of,â said Jenny Love Meyer, director of culture and Love’s executive vice president. “What Patty gasso completed not only her tenure at the OU, but for women’s varsity softball, is impressive. The program she has built aligns with Love’s core values ââof integrity, perseverance and a strong work ethic, and the world saw that by winning the 2021 Women’s College World Series. We are proud may our name be associated with this program and the new stadium so well deserved by the team. “
OU President Joseph Harroz said the gift marks a world-class softball facility on the OU campus.
âThis transformative gift from Love’s Travel Stops turns our dream of building a premier softball facility at the University of Oklahoma into a reality,â said Harroz. “What a beautiful tribute to Patty gassoremarkable series of five national championships and 20 conference championships. It defines excellence and is an essential part of the heartbeat of our university. Unsurprisingly, this success has attracted a passionate fan base, and this exceptional gift catapults the momentum of OU Softball even further. Many future generations of Sooner student-athletes and fans will be impacted by the generosity of our friends at Love’s, and we are extremely grateful for their support. “
According to OU vice president and sports director Joe castiglione, this gift is especially gratifying to come from a company that aligns so well with the university and athletic department.
âLove’s has given a gift of historic proportions for a facility that will be second to none and that will impact the lives of our student-athletes for generations to come,â said Castiglione. âWe are deeply grateful. Love’s is one of Oklahoma’s largest businesses and families. It is an honor to be aligned with them. We share their values ââto move forward into the future with new ideas , to seize the opportunities that each day brings and to understand the vital role we play in our community and our state. We are proud that their name will appear on our new stadium, and we are grateful that the achievements of Patty gasso, its teams and student-athletes are thus celebrated. This program develops young women and succeeds in a way that should be glorified as an elite in all varsity sports. “
âLove’s empowers women to achieve the absolute pinnacle of success while inspiring the next generation to look to the future with the biggest dream. As we see at a time like this, dreams truly come true. “
– Patty gasso
OU Softball Head Coach Patty gasso is thrilled with what the new facility means for their program, but said the biggest impact is empowering women’s athletics.
âI cannot express how grateful I am and our program is for the generosity of Love’s Travel Stops and the Love family,â said Gasso. âThey share our champion mentality and have embraced not only the success of our program, but also the culture that we have built among our student-athletes and our fans. They also recognize that in order for us to maintain the level of excellence that we achieved, we must be a national leader in all aspects of our program, including our establishment. Love’s empowers women to achieve the absolute pinnacle of success while inspiring the next generation to look to the future with the most. big dream. As we see at a time like this, dreams come true. “
Gasso has been the Oklahoma softball coach for the past 27 seasons and has transformed the program into a national powerhouse. His record during that period is 1,335-341-2, a winning percentage of 0.792, the highest among coaches with at least 1,000 games directed. In conference, the teams of Gasso are 362-87.
Under his leadership, OU has won five national championships, including the 2021 title, and 20 conference championships, including the last nine regular season crowns and the last four postseason tournament crowns. While producing 69 All-Americans and three National Players of the Year, the Sooners have been ranked among the nation’s top 25 for 375 straight weeks. OU is the only program to be ranked in each week of the National Fastpitch Softball Coaching Survey that began in 1995.
Gasso was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2012 and has been named Conference Coach of the Year 13 times, including the last nine in a row. She and her staff have received the NFCA National Coach of the Year award four times.
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Love’s Field will be the new home of champions with state-of-the-art training facilities for OU Softball student-athletes and coaches. The new facility includes a 10,500 square foot indoor training facility, nearly double the size of the current training space, and several team spaces, including a training room, locker room and a classroom. It also has space for a recognition area to showcase national championships, All-Americans and other outstanding achievements.
Love’s Field will be built on the northwest corner of South Jenkins Avenue and Imhoff Road, approximately half a mile south of the stadium’s current location. It will accommodate 3,000 people and is designed for expansion. The current stadium has a capacity of 1,378 seats. Temporary seats are added each year to increase capacity to approximately 1,900.
In current plans, the total area of ââthe complex will reach 44,000, compared to 15,150 in the current facility. Team areas will grow from 2,949 square feet to 5,375 square feet and the indoor practice facility will grow from 4,700 square feet to 10,531 square feet.
Parking will be on the existing paved lot at the Lloyd Noble Center, which is across the street south of the new site.
In terms of other fan amenities, Love’s Field will feature three concession stands with a total of eight outlets, with additional space for ancillary locations. It also includes an increase of over 80 plumbing fixtures over the current installation.
Minimum estimates for Love’s Field are currently around $ 27 million. To date, over $ 20 million has been raised through the generosity of Sooner Club members. Love’s Field is expected to be fully funded by direct private support, making it the largest ever private fundraiser for a student-athlete facility in inter-varsity sport. Architects and facility planners complete design concepts. The groundbreaking ceremony will probably take place in 2022. The stadium is scheduled to open for the 2024 season.
Those interested in donating to the softball project should contact the Sooner Club at (405) 325-8000 or visit TheSoonerClub.com/softball.